You know him and love him as the man who helped bring mixed martial arts to the United States, and now Sports Illustrated has named him one of the top 50 athletes of all time. I’m talking about the Brazilian legend Royce Gracie, who stormed the cage at UFC 1 in 1993 and showed the world that a bit of jiu-jitsu was all you needed to wreck bigger, meaner boxers, kickboxer, karateka and judoka.
Here’s Gracie tweeting about making the list:
— Royce Gracie (@realroyce) January 10, 2014
When it comes to the birth and growth of a particular sport, it’s rare to be able to point to one individual as the person most responsible. But every week fighters are stepping into the cage and throwing down, and we have Gracie to thank for that. Congrats to him for making the list.